Samuel McLeod Business Awards experimenting with Hybrid model

Finalists-only event will be aired on YouTube

Gateway Mall Manager Sharon Faul (left) and Marketing Director Donna Hordyski accept the Samuel McLeod Business Award for Marketing during the 2018 Samuel McLeod Business Awards. Photo courtesy Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce.

The Samuel McLeod Business Awards celebration will look a lot different this year.

Typically, the Prince Albert & District Chamber of Commerce sees over 300 people attend its event.

Keeping in line with COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s event will host the 30 finalists at the E.A Rawlinson Centre and audience members will be able to attend virtually via live YouTube broadcast.

The chamber’s CEO, Elise Hildebrandt, said if the finalists don’t feel comfortable attending the event in-person, or if it goes against their workplace guidelines, they can submit an acceptance speech video that will be played if they win.

“We’ve gone through all 30 of our finalists so that nobody knows who that recipient is until the evening that we open up the envelope,” Hildebrandt said in an interview with the Herald.

“That way we still got an element of surprise and excitement to go into it,” she added.

Hildebrant said that if the province changes their guidelines by the show date and more people can attend in-person, finalists will be allowed to invite one guest to the awards. She said the chamber will continue to review guidelines.

“We just know that we definitely wanted to give our finalists the opportunity (to attend).”

The event will air at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. Hildebrandt said thanks to sponsors, the event will be available to view at no cost to audience members, who can comment and congratulate the winners in the YouTube video comments section.

“We’ll try to be interactive and I guess that’s something else COVID has taught us and technology, that although you’re maybe not there in the room you can still say congratulations,” Hildebrandt said. 

Up for the taking are the following awards; Business of the Year, Business Transformation, Community Involvement, Customer Service, Female Business Leader of the Year, Male Business Leader of the Year, Marketing, New Venture, Non-Profit of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

The finalists were announced in March 2020 and are judged by independent and anonymous individuals.

The Samuel McLeod Business Awards is the largest event the chamber puts on, and Hildebrandt says that they are thankful for the community support.